In Australian author Douglass's stirring final book in her Crucible trilogy (after 2005's The Wounded Hawk), ex-priest Thomas Neville confronts such thorny issues as man's free will, the morality of angels and the natures of both God and Jesus. If Neville gives his soul to the angels, then mankind will be forever in their thrall. In order to save mankind and allow free will, Neville must find a whore to whom he can wholeheartedly deliver his soul. His anguished decision plays out against the backdrop of such tumultuous events as the reign of Hal "the Demon-King" Bolingbroke, the battle for the French throne at Agincourt and Joan of Arc's fiery martyrdom. This compressed alternate history offers such frightening treats as a view of the angelic heaven and a visit by "the black Dog of Pestilence" (which personally sprays the plague on London). Though the inevitability of Neville's choice is never in doubt, Douglass's excellent grasp of period detail and character is certain to delight fans of historical fantasy. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.